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Muldoon’s ‘how to’ book offers solid advice

The Education of a Lawyer: Essential Skills and Uncommon Advice

Gary Muldoon, in his office at 144 Exchange Blvd., between photos depicting legal greats Clarence Darrow, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Billings Learned Hand, and photos of his family to his left. Nora A. Jones

Gary Muldoon, in his office at 144 Exchange Blvd., between photos depicting legal greats Clarence Darrow, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. and Billings Learned Hand, and photos of his family to his left. Nora A. Jones

Gary Muldoon’s decades of lawyering experience in the public and private sectors gives him significant credibility as the author of The Education of a Lawyer: Essential Skills and Uncommon Advice for Building a Successful Career. His years of classroom experience as adjunct faculty at both Monroe Community College and SUNY Buffalo Law School adds further depth to his qualifications.

But it is his writing style, complete with honesty and humor that makes him shine as an impressive spokesman/mentor for those thinking of going to law school or knee-deep in a JD program.

“It’s the kind of book I wish I had when I was starting out,” Muldoon admits, explaining that the concept for the book has been brewing for years.

The book

The 200-page Education of a Lawyer is published by the American Bar Association, available through ABA Publishing, with discounts considered for CLE and bar-related programs. It is also available on Amazon, and although the cover price is $49.95, you’ll find a variety of pricing options on Amazon, along with the Kindle edition.

A signed copy of the book will be available at the Oct. 7 Art of Lawyering silent auction at Village Gate, with all auction proceeds going to Volunteer Legal Services Project. For a premium bid, the book comes with a two-hour lunch with the author, to be arranged at a convenient date.

Muldoon is extremely well-read and has been passionate about writing for many years, and believes good writing skills are a fundamental element of good lawyering. He believes in journaling, and suggests it as a good practice for prospective attorneys.

A look inside

The chapters bring together a number of short essays on related topics, with the first chapter focused on “In Law School and Before.”

On page 11, Muldoon advises: “In second and third years, at least one course each semester should be clerking or taking a course taught by an adjunct.”

He also recommends a broad spectrum of reading – not just law. Pages 13 and 14 are primarily comprised of recommended books, plays, essays and movies.

Other chapter titles include: “In Search of a Job,” “Areas of Practice” and “Writing and Speaking.”

The chapter on writing is another demonstration of Muldoon’s own expertise on the topic, emphasizing proofreading and editing as two distinct tasks of great significance. Talking about the book, he admitted the initial writing only took about three months, but it was dozens of revision cycles that slowed down the process.

“It’s something like refinishing a floor. You use finer and finer sandpaper to even out the rough spots and snags,” Muldoon explained. “The goal is smooth reading that is clear in meaning.”

That same chapter provides suggestions on getting public speaking experience, and some of the do’s and don’ts of using a lectern and microphone, referencing James C. Humes’ book “Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln.”

About the author

A signed copy of Muldoon’s book will be available at the VLSP’s Art of Lawyering silent auction on Oct. 7 at Village Gate. Nora A. Jones

A signed copy of Muldoon’s book will be available at the VLSP’s Art of Lawyering silent auction on Oct. 7 at Village Gate. Nora A. Jones

A Buffalo native who completed his J.D. at the SUNY Buffalo Law, Muldoon came to Rochester in 1976 as a VISTA volunteer working as a legal services attorney. His continued work in legal aid organizations took him to Long Island and Cornell, before he landed back in Rochester in 1980.

Muldoon gained experience in criminal law as an assistant public defender and as a law clerk for city and county court judges. He then opened his own law practice, where he has focused on criminal law and family law, including criminal and civil appeals. He also handles residential real estate and estate law matters. He’s been a member of the Attorney for the Child panel in the Fourth Department.

He’s been a frequent columnist for The Daily Record, and has been listed as the author of a Lawyers Cooperative Publishing practice guide for more than 20 years. “Handling a Criminal Case in New York” now carries the Thomson-Reuters name, but Muldoon admits there is always an update in process.

Muldoon has also had articles in the New York Law Journal and other legal journals, and is a contributing lawyer-editor for the 10th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary.

In addition to serving as the dean of the Monroe County Bar Association’s Academy of Law, Muldoon has been a frequent presenter at seminars locally and elsewhere. He chaired the Fee Arbitration Committee for the Seventh Judicial District and has been recognized with various awards in the legal community.

His wife, Donna, is a technical writer/editor at Shenouda Associates. Their daughter, Lauren, is a senior at Ithaca College, currently focused on business.

Up next

The Greater Rochester Association of Women Attorneys has selected “Education of a Lawyer” for its November book club meeting, with plans for Muldoon to share his thoughts in person.

Muldoon is currently drafting a short novel, with a working title of “How to win friends and influence judges.” Those who are familiar with his sense of humor will likely see his ability to play with words and create fabulous phrasing.